Australia is a sporting nation. We watch sport, we play sport, we love sport. From the Boxing Day Test to footy finals fever, from early mornings paddling out at breaks around the country to park runs in hundreds of cities and towns.
But climate change is threatening the sports we love.
In the wake of the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/20 we decided sport had been on the sidelines on climate for too long. The climate crisis was beginning to be felt across the country, including in the sports we play and love, and so FrontRunners was born.
Co-founded by Emma and David Pocock and Lachlan Crombie, and with the addition of founding board members Rebekah Giles and Joe Hedger, our small team set about scoping out the lay of the land and building relationships across the sports ecosystem.
Two years on FrontRunners work has seen us pioneer a first-of-its-kind campaign;, The Cool Down, support the formation of player-led climate movements like Footy for Climate and Cricket for Climate and provide advice and support across the sporting world, from athletes and associations to clubs and governing bodies.
Our work is just beginning as we aim to accelerate sports climate leadership in the decade that really matters.
CEO, Co-founder & Director
Emma has a keen interest in the intersection of sports and political, cultural and behavioural change. Prior to FrontRunners Emma worked in policy and communications in the office of a Federal Senator, helping execute a successful re-election campaign that focussed on climate action and environmental issues. Emma has previously worked in research for a think tank and at a university. Before working as a research assistant, she was a youth worker focussed on delivering cultural change programs in West Australian high schools.
Emma has more than a decade of experience working alongside her partner, former Wallaby Captain, and now Senator for the ACT, David Pocock, on various projects and building a public profile for good through sport. Their shared work has included; the establishment of Rangelands Regeneration Trust - working to manage 70,000 ha in the Zimbabwean Lowveld for biodiversity and improved rural livelihoods; co-authoring a book, In Our Nature, about their work in Zimbabwe, as well as stories about rugby, conservation, climate change, and belonging. She also co-managed David’s, and; a successful Senate campaign, as well as supporting his advocacy on climate action, conservation and marriage equality. She is also an inaugural board member of Footy for Climate.
Emma has a Masters in International Development and a Bachelor of Social Science.
CEO, Co-founder & Director
A Social Science graduate from the University of Adelaide, Eloise has long understood the social and cultural power of sport. Her most recent role was as the office manager for a high-profile politician. Working in this fast-paced, dynamic environment for two and a half years provided Eloise with deep experience in stakeholder engagement, policy development, organisational oversight, the management of day-to-day operations and coordinating a diverse team to achieve impact. It also gave her first-hand insight into Australian federal politics and the policy-development process. Eloise has always loved and participated in a variety of sports, but has found her home playing Aussie Rules in the growing women’s league.
Decarbonising Sport Lead
Number one draft pick and current player for the GIANTS in the AFLW, Board Director for Footy for Climate and on the board of NSW National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Nicola Barr is passionate and engaged in the cross section of sport and social & environmental issues.
She is a three-time Giants Community award winner and works at the intersection of sport and climate, working with sporting organisations and codes to decarbonise sport. Alongside her playing career and work at FrontRunners, she is beginning a Master of Sustainability at the University of Sydney in 2023, following a short course in Business Sustainability Management through the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.
Nic’s support for climate action extends into her personal life. She cycles, shops and eats sustainably and chooses to align with brands who have strong environmental policies.
Nic is a lover of anything and everything to do with the outdoors. She can always be found cycling, hiking, surfing or swimming and soaking up the Sydney sun and sand. She finds calm and joy in being out in the open and wants to be part of preserving these spaces for future generations.
Decarbonising Sport Lead
With over twenty years of top tier experience in Australia and the United Kingdom, Rebekah has developed a diverse legal practice advising and representing a broad range of clients from directors, executives, politicians, professionals, sporting clubs, and celebrities. She is renowned for acting in high profile disputes, investigations, prosecutions, and inquiries as well as arbitration. Rebekah was awarded Reputational Risk Lawyer of the Year (New South Wales) by Global Law Experts for 2019 and 2020. She was also named Individual for Sports Law by Best Lawyers Australia in the Australian Financial Review in 2019.
Rebekah has curated a diverse portfolio of non-executive directorships in government, sport, and private enterprise. Some of her current and past appointments include Chair of the Board of Governors for the Centennial Parklands Foundation, Western Sydney Football Club (GWS Giants), Clean Energy Partnerships, the Sydney Olympic Park Business Association, and the Association for Women in Insurance.
In 2017 she was honoured with an Award for Excellence from the UTS Faculty of Law and the following year she was named as one of Australian Financial Review's 100 Women of Influence (Boards and Management category).
Joe is a proud Bundjalung man whose family come from the Aboriginal community of Baryulgil on the Far North coast of NSW.
Joe brings a deep understanding and lived insight on First Nations’ issues, a perspective which positions him well in providing strategic guidance and advice on current and emerging issues impacting First Nations’ peoples. Joe is also highly respected for his political astuteness, sensitivity and expertise in First Nations’ social and cultural practices, beliefs and protocols.
Having participated in sport in various capacities, Joe understands the unique value and power sport has had and, continues to play, in positively transforming the lives and communities of First Nations’ peoples.
Co-founder & Director
An expert in government relations and passionate about sport, Lachlan Crombie co-founded FrontRunners with Emma and David Pocock. He believes in the potential of sport to play a powerful role in driving environmental action and changing climate perceptions within the community.
Lachlan currently works as the Director of Environment and Hospitality at political consultancy firm PremierState. His dedication to politically strategic environmental action transformed PremierState into a pro-climate political consultancy, with Lachlan at the helm of a new dedicated environmental practice group.
Lachlan has a Master of Business in Sports Management from the Australian leading Sports Management School, Deakin University. While at PremierState, he worked with leading NRL clubs in Sydney (including the Sydney Roosters and the Manly Sea Eagles), as well as Australia’s oldest running rugby club, the Sydney University Football Club. He also enjoys volunteering in coaching and officiating cricket, rugby and soccer.
Deeply passionate about sports, Lachlan has travelled the world to attend major sporting events, including the 2011 and 2019 Rugby World Cups, and the 2018 Football World Cup. You can also find him at the nearest dog-friendly pub, watching the sports channel with his four-legged best friend, Jericho.
Co-founder & Director
Arj is the Chief Operating Officer of leading communications firm Porter Novelli Australia and has delivered standout integrated campaigns and stakeholder programs to organisations across many of Australia’s major industry sectors for more than 10 years. He is focused on effective and creative communication programs which deliver genuine behaviour change and is a continuing advisor to state and federal governments and companies in the automotive, education, food, property, retail and consumer technology sectors.
His professional experience includes leading an award-winning campaign for the Greyhound Adoption Program (which helped place a record 536 greyhounds in new homes in one year), advising the AFL and Special Olympics and providing media relations counsel to support Bupa sponsorship properties including Hawthorn Football Club, Cricket Australia and Tour Down Under. In 2010, Arj also took a sabbatical from Porter Novelli and worked in media relations at Tennis Australia, leading communications programs for community tennis and media handling for the Australian Open.
Arj’s sporting life also includes a passion for both the Hawthorn Football Club and Liverpool Football Club – and despite the events of 2020, he was thrilled to watch the Reds finally lift the Premier League trophy (even if it was in an empty stadium).
As a former international netballer, Amy has experienced first hand the impact climate change is already having on sport. Amy suffered a heat stroke in 2016 which forced her to retire from the sport. Today Amy takes an advocacy role supporting sport to address climate change through her involvement in advocacy groups including: Sports Environment Alliance and EcoAthletes.
Her professional career, as the WA leader of climate risk and decarbonisation for Engie (one of the world’s largest energy companies), allows her to switch focus to the business world, and work with the world's major emitters to transition to a zero carbon business model.
Following a celebrated football career as Australia’s 419th Socceroo & 40th Captain, Craig became one of Australia’s most respected broadcasters with an 18-year, multiple Logie-winning career with Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Australia. Craig is perhaps equally well-known for his work beyond the field and screen, through the social programs he has developed, as well as his advocacy for sport and human rights, refugees and asylum seekers, and humanitarian causes.
Craig is an Adjunct Professor of Sport & Social Responsibility with Torrens University, sits on the Multicultural Council of Australia, and works across a vast range of social programs from indigenous rights and self-determination, homelessness and domestic violence along with refugee advocacy as a Human Rights and Refugee Ambassador for Amnesty Australia, Australia Committee member with Human Rights Watch and Advisory Council member of the Australian Human Rights Institute, UNSW.
He is a former Chairman, Life Member, and CEO of Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), Australia’s representative body of the Socceroos, Matildas and professional players, and has a strong background in athlete advocacy and social justice through leading a global #SaveHakeem campaign to free a young Bahraini footballer from a Thai prison, #GameOver with Amnesty Australia to free asylum seekers and refugees from Australia's offshore detention and #PlayForLives, a humanitarian response by sport to COVID-19 which saw sports, clubs and athletes contribute to vulnerable communities in Australia and, later, India.
Craig was a Finalist in the 2019 Australian Human Rights Medal, recipient of the 2020 NSW Human Rights Medal for his work with refugees, is a strong advocate for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and NZ to be the 'World Cup of climate action', holds a Master’s in International Sports Management, a Postgraduate Degree in Football Management, a Professional Coaching License and a Bachelor of Laws.
Fiona de Jong LLB (Hons), BIT, AMP (Harvard) is praised as one of Australia’s emerging contemporary leaders of globally significant projects. Fiona is lead of the AIS European Training Centre After most recently having spent five years with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade).
Prior to Austrade, Fiona spent a decade in sport as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director of Sport at the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC). Over her 12 years at the AOC she successfully delivered 10 Australian Olympic Team campaigns (3 summer, 3 winter, 4 youth) across 9 countries, 5 Australian Youth Olympic Festivals here in Australia and day-to-day management of an iconic Australian sporting organisation including the re-design of the Australian Olympic brand. Fiona’s diplomatic leadership in Australian sport saw her engage with the most senior leaders of sport, business and governments domestically and internationally.
Before commencing her service of sport, Fiona was a lawyer with international law firm Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst) and implemented innovative eCommerce projects with Colonial First State funds management.
She is a board member of Surfing Australia, Trustee of Centennial & Moore Park Trust, Governor of the Centennial Parklands Foundation, Member of International Olympic Committee (IOC) Taskforce on Safeguarding Athletes and various sports advisory boards and former member of the AOC Executive, Australian Olympic Foundation, Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Marketing Commission.
Dr Martin Rice is Head of Research for the Climate Council. Previously he was the Co-ordinator of the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) in Paris, France. The ESSP is a global interdisciplinary program with joint projects on the carbon cycle, global water system, human health and food systems. Prior to working for the ESSP he was a Programme Manager for the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) in Kobe, Japan. The APN is an intergovernmental network that promotes policy-oriented research and capacity-building activities related to global change in the region.
Martin’s PhD research at Macquarie University was on integrated Earth System Science: research practice and science communication. He is an Honorary Associate, Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University. Martin has published in peer-reviewed journals, books and reports and is frequently interviewed by the media on climate change (e.g. New York Times, BBC World, ABC Radio National, Al Jazeera).
Martin has a passion for sport. He played competitive squash (Scottish championships) and soccer/football at university in Scotland and while living and working in Japan. Martin is passionate about the outdoors, especially hiking, camping and skiing.
Ana is an environmental communications specialist at Monash University’s Climate Change Communication Research Hub. The Hub is the only dedicated climate change communication institute in the southern hemisphere and leads impact-focussed initiatives to improve public understanding of climate change.
As a project officer for the Hub’s Changing Climates program, she delivers fortnightly hyperlocal news columns across Australia. In discussing local climate trends, the columns aim to improve climate literacy of Australians and assist them in making informed decisions toward a more sustainable future. She also co-authored a series of reports for the Australian Conservation Foundation examining the present and projected impacts of climate change on Boxing Day Test, the Tour Down Under and the Australian Open.
Ana holds a Bachelor of Science Advanced Global Challenges (Honours) from Monash University. Her Honours project was conducted in partnership with the Australian Conservation Foundation, investigating strategies to effectively engage Australians in climate change advocacy. In 2019-20, she spent a year conducting ecological and climate research in the high Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.
Sport has always been a key part of Ana’s life. She was a representative football and touch rugby player while growing up in New Zealand, and now enjoys playing AFL in Melbourne. A keen outdoors person, Ana has been selected as a Young Inspiring Explorer by the Antarctic Heritage Trust and is set to undertake the first official ski mountaineering traverse of New Zealand’s Mahu Whenua trail in 2022.
Steph is an award-winning communicator driven by a deep love for people and the planet. From climate change to sexual wellbeing, she is skilled at deepening understanding of issues that many shy away from and currently works as a freelance consultant across sustainability, digital innovation and sextech.
Prior to this, Steph spent much of her career building large-scale environmental communication initiatives. Most recently, she co-created and scaled an Australian-first communication initiative at Monash University to improve public understanding of climate change, for which she was awarded a Victorian Young Achiever Award.
As an experienced writer and environmental researcher, she has also published widely on climate change in Australian society, as well as its intersection with sport. In 2021, she led research on support for AFL climate action and in 2020, authored a series of reports examining the impact of climate change on the Boxing Day Test, the Tour Down Under and the Australian Open.
Steph is also a Startmate fellow, an accomplished public speaker and a passionate Richmond Football Club supporter.
Anthony Arrow is a partner at Corrs Chambers Westgarth and is renown as one of Australia’s leading renewable and alternative energy lawyers. He has been formally recognised as a leading practitioner in his field by Chambers and Best Lawyers. Anthony has over 21 years’ experience advising governments, sponsors, developers and contractors in relation to some of Australia’s highest profile renewable energy and major infrastructure projects. He was Head of Energy at his previous law firm and enjoys an extensive network of domestic and international clients and contacts who participate in the renewable and alternative energy sectors.
Anthony is a highly energetic and driven person. He is extremely passionate about the positive contribution that the energy projects he is involved with are making to address climate change and the role that he is playing in driving Australia towards a clean energy future. He advises some of the world’s most recognised renewable and alternate energy sector businesses, including Tesla on the vast majority of its battery energy storage projects and virtual power plant projects in Australia. Anthony’s areas of practice include work on the large scale wind farms, solar farms, battery storage and energy from waste projects. He has published many articles on the renewable energy sector and is a frequent guest speaker at energy conferences, including the International Conference on Power and Energy in Malaysia and the Clean Energy Summit held each year in Sydney.
Professor David Lindenmayer is a world-leading expert in forest ecology and resource management, conservation science, and biodiversity conservation. He currently runs 5 large-scale, long-term research programs in south-eastern Australia, primarily associated with developing ways to conserve biodiversity in farmland, wood production forests, plantations, and reserves. He has maintained some of the largest, long-term research programs in Australia, with some exceeding 37 years in duration.
David Lindenmayer has published 1290 scientific articles including 815 peer-reviewed papers in international scientific journals. He has also published 46 books, including many award-winning textbooks and other seminal books. He is among the world's most productive and most highly-cited scientists, particularly in forest ecology and conservation biology.
David Lindenmayer held a prestigious Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow from 2013-2018. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (elected 2008), a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America (elected in 2019), and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2014. His research has been recognised through numerous awards, including the Eureka Science Prize (twice), Whitley Award (10 times), the Serventy Medal for Ornithology, and the Australian Natural History Medallion. In 2018, he was awarded the prestigious Whittaker Medal from the Ecological Society of America.
From our own campaigns to powerful player led movements and incisive reports exploring the connection between sport and climate, discover the projects we’ve supported.
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